It’s been a while since I shot my first fashion test here in London (it was on the 9th of April) and I’ve finally decided to write about it.
I wanted to shoot a remake of the classic mermaid story (inspiration post here), with my modern water creature being stuck in East London and living in London Fields Lido at night, but I had lots of problem to plan the whole thing.
First I had to find out if I could use the Lido as a location and I couldn’t, or better, I could have, but not at the weekends and I’d have to give a really long notice.
The test was unpaid and it would have been too hard to find people willing to work during the week as most hair stylists and MUAs are free only at the weekend, so I had to ditch the London Fields Lido idea and I decided to shoot along Regent’s Canal as a compromise.
As I was organising the whole shoot by myself and I was quite new to London , I started looking for a model and the creative team through Model Mayhem, a website for photographers and models, where you can post casting calls to find people to collaborate with (including MUAs, hair and wardrobe stylists, retouchers etc etc).
Model Mayhem is quite good if you are just starting out and you need models to build up your portfolio while you’re still studying, but I found it also quite frustrating because of the amount of unprofessional people on it.
Finding a model was a bit more difficult as I didn’t want a classic beauty, but someone with quite an unusual “alien” look who would fit the sea creature image that I had in my head 🙂
As soon as I met Marie Louise in person (I think that the pictures on her MM profile don’t make her justice), I knew I’ve found the one: I loved her lips and her wide set beautiful eyes.
My boyfriend was going to assist me on the day (bless his heart), so the only person left to find was a wardrobe stylist to create the different looks.
I managed to convince a stylist, who I’ve met while assisting a photographer, but she’s not happy with having her name associated with all the pictures, so I’m not going to say her name.
She’s very talented and she managed to pull some amazing creative looks, but I was a bit disappointed by the lack of shoes and accessories 😦
I shot everything on film, using mostly my favourite medium format camera, the Zenza Bronica Sq-Ai, and a bit my 35mm reflex, the Nikon F-301, whose batteries decided to die after the first film after years of trusted life and I didn’t have spares (lesson learned, always bring spares).
I was a bit worries about the weather, but there was no need to as the day was HOT and we all got sunburned! 😀
This shoot taught me a lot and I’m really happy about it.
Now I know that I should shoot more film, bring spare batteries, and the most important lesson is that I shouldn’t “waste” all of my energies on the first two looks and drag along shooting as a zombie for the following ones, ending up with lots of good pictures at the beginning of the shoot and two OKish ones of the last look.
Ah, I should also remember to bring sun cream on location and that I should be ready to deal with an audience of passerbys without feeling nervous about the model being uncomfortable, as she’s used to being observed 🙂
Model: Marie Louise Smith
Hair Stylist: Haruhide Ishizaki